Posted on 28. September 2011 in Press

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European Parliament asks WHO to depathologize transgender identities

TGEU Press Release | 28th July 2011


Europe and especially the European Union like to proud themselves as pioneers in human rights. Today, the European parliament acknowledges that within the EU human rights of transgender, gay, lesbian and bisexual persons are still violated. Moreover the Parliament calls upon the EU commission and the WHO to depathologize trans identities. Taking into account the historic UN resolution “Human Rights, sexual orientation and gender identity” from earlier this year, the parliamentarians address a range of areas of concern to the European Commission and EU member states.

TGEU very much welcomes the resolution of the European Parliament.

The resolution endorses the adoption of the UNHRC resolution A/HRC/17/19 and lends its support to the work undertaken by the OHCHR so far as well as concrete assistance in organizing a panel at the 19th UN UNHCR session to enable an open dialogue amongst states on related human rights issues.

The European parliament calls on the Commission and the WHO – a UN body – to withdraw gender identity disorders from the list of mental and behavioral disorders while ensuring a non-pathologizing re-coding in the 11th version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

Further on, the EP regrets that among others the “right of access to preventive health care and to benefit from medical treatment” is not upheld in all EU countries. This relates especially to the unworthy struggle many trans people have to face when having to undergo mandatory genital surgery and forced sterilization as prescribed in Gender Recognition legislation in 29 countries in Europe1. Accessing transgender related health care and/ or obtaining financial assistance to do so is problematic in a number of EU countries.

Co-Chair Julia Ehrt comments: “Health is a major concern for many trans people in Europe. Acknowledging that all people including trans persons have a right to preventive and assisted health care is key. The Commission has to act now!”

“This resolution is crucial in saying that the EU has a role to play in the global struggle for a depathologization of gender identities towards the well-being of trans people. We expect the European Commission to pro-actively work towards a depathologization of trans identities. The current revision of the ICD is a historic chance and the Commission cannot ignore this but needs to give its input.” adds Richard Köhler, TGEU co-chair.

UN resolution A/HRC/17/19 was the first of its kind addressing only human rights concerns on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Within a coordinated effort from LGBT groups worldwide, TGEU had contributed in a months-long discussion process behind the scenes to shape the resolution as trans-inclusive as possible.

European Parliament resolution adopted today (Final version, PDF)

The UN Human Rights Council resolution of 17 June 2011

1 „Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in Europe“ (2011) by Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg